Developing self-regulation

Psychologist & Author Madeline Levine, explains the importance of teaching children and teens how to regulate themselves and shares advice for parents on the best methods for teaching kids self-regulation
Developing Self-Regulation In Children and Teenagers
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Developing self-regulation

It’s very important that children, and especially teenagers, learn how to regulate themselves. Critical. As an adolescent therapist for 30 years if I had to pick on thing, that would be it. And that’s because the adolescent brain is something like a Ferrari with faulty breaks. The impulsive risk-taking part of the adolescent brain goes really fast and the judgment part is kind of lacking behind. So we have two jobs. We have the job of making sure our kids don’t get into water over their head, but we also have the job off sort of tight trading, allowing them to take small steps towards increased independence, because they’re going to be going on their way to college with this very little structure. So, for example, if your child has an 11 o’clock curfew and makes it regularly, you might think about 11:30. And that’s the next step in self-regulation. If your child has an 11 o’clock curfew and never gets in on time, don’t make it 11:30. You can be assured that your child’s not ready for that next step. So your job as a parent is to help your child take steps toward self-regulation. And sometimes they’ll fail, and sometimes they’ll come in late, but it’s happening under your roof where you can process with them what happened last night. Your kid may say, “Well, I felt really uncomfortable.” That’s a great thing to talk about before your child goes away to college. Because in college, what are they’re going to do if everybody’s passed out drunk and they don’t want to be laying on the floor. So good to do it while they’re still under your roof.

Psychologist & Author Madeline Levine, explains the importance of teaching children and teens how to regulate themselves and shares advice for parents on the best methods for teaching kids self-regulation


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Madeline Levine, PhD

Psychologist & Author

Madeline Levine, PhD, is a psychologist with close to 30 years of experience as a clinician, consultant and educator. Her New York Times bestseller, The Price of Privilege, explores the reasons why teenagers from affluent families are experiencing epidemic rates of emotional problems.  Her book, Teach Your Children Well, outlines how our current narrow definition of success unnecessarily stresses academically talented kids and marginalizes many more whose talents and interests are less amenable to measurement. The development of skills needed to be successful in the 21st century- creativity, collaboration, innovation – are not easily developed in our competitive, fast-paced, high pressure world. Teach Your Children Well gives practical, research- based solutions to help parents return their families to healthier and saner versions of themselves.

Dr. Levine is also a co-founder of Challenge Success, a project born at the Stanford School of Education. Challenge Success believes that our increasingly competitive world has led to tremendous anxiety about our children’s’ futures and has resulted in a high pressure, myopic focus on grades, test scores and performance. This kind of pressure and narrow focus isn’t helping our kids become the resilient, capable, meaningful contributors we need in the 21st century. So every day, Challenge Success provides families and schools with the practical research-based tools they need to raise healthy, motivated kids, capable of reaching their full potential. We know that success is measured over the course of a lifetime, not at the end of the grading period.

Dr. Levine began her career as an elementary and junior high school teacher in the South Bronx of New York before moving to California and earning her degrees in psychology. She has had a large clinical practice with an emphasis on child and adolescent problems and parenting issues. Currently however, she spends most of her time crisscrossing the country speaking to parents, educators, students, and business leaders. Dr. Levine has taught Child Development classes to graduate students at the University of California Medical Center/ San Francisco. For many years, Dr. Levine has been a consultant to various schools, from preschool through High School, public as well as private, throughout the country. She has been featured on television programs from the Early Show to the Lehrer report, on NPR stations such as Diane Rheems in Washington and positively reviewed in publications from Scientific American to the Washington Post. She is sought out both nationally and internationally as an expert and keynote speaker. 

Dr. Levine and her husband of 35 years, Lee Schwartz, MD are the incredibly proud (and slightly relieved) parents of three newly minted and thriving sons.

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